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Nadya Lunălescu

IC: A Relicking Good Time

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Nadya's pencil beat a rapid tattoo on her binder, eagerly waiting for the last class of the day to end. Her page of notes had devolved into a hieroglyphic representation of some Rube Goldbergian monstrosity used to purloin... something. Nadya wasn't a particularly good artist. It might have been a document stating she owned Amazon entirely or a reverse giraffe. Her eyes were on the clock rather than her doodles. She swore she'd seen the minute hand move backwards a tick - which would have been far from the strangest thing she'd ever seen, especially recently.

The bell rang and Nadya was out of the door before the chime finishing chiming, a dusk-coloured sirocco in chunky heels, her phone practically materializing into her hand. The teacher was death on students who played with their phones during class, and Nadya hadn't been about to risk having a gift from her mother taken away, even for a few hours, maybe a day. Beyond that, no phone! Shudder.

Neither she nor Grimes had a shift at From Dusk Til Pawn today, and she was pretty sure the rest of the Band was free too. They'd better be, or they'd miss out on Big Fugly's broken ruby heart. It was time to talk to talk to Archie about the shards leftover from their take down of the Cherokee Spearfinger. Okay, okay, it was waaaay past time. She hadn't been hoarding them for herself. Really, honest. She'd just been... y'know, trying to see if she could figure out what to do with them on her own. Independent Study. It hadn't gone too well. Okay, it hadn't gone at all, since all her ideas about research on this stuff lead right back to Archie... which was right where she was ending up going, anyway.

<We got some mats. Gotta find out where to go with them to make them into stuff. Meet up at Archie's> Nadya tapped out briskly on her phone then texted to the Band.

Actually, Grimes hadn't even been there, but it would seem kinda rude and backhanded to uninvite him now, especially since she was his ride today. Can you say awkward? He could get the smallest piece of shattered ruby monster heart.

When Nadya started getting close to the rather too impressive library for Salem High, she slowed her brisk pace to one more lackadaisical and aimless, them slipped inside while no one was looking. She couldn't be seen to be wanting to go to the library, even if she had been going there a lot more often as of late. She ghosted through the stacks to where Archimedes laired.

"Hey, Archie! You around?" Nadya trilled lightly as she looked around for the erstwhile librarian and god. "You said come see you if I - we - wanted to start on that 'independent study' you mentioned."

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"In the back, Nadya," Archimedes called back to her, which was not uncommon these days as he was always occupied with one thing or another.  Nadya snaked her way around book carts and past a shelf or two, taking only a moment to look overhead at the dazzling mural of the six pantheons painted upon the ceiling like the Sistine chapel.  She could hear him speaking as she approached and noticed a young woman sitting at a table while he stood, leaning against a shelf.  "...was hoping to have more to explain all this to you, but you've been brought into this conflict at a rather interesting time," as Nadya came into view he pushed himself from the shelf and came to offer her his attention.  "Ah, Nadya, just in time."

He gestured to the lovely young woman with cocoa skin and beautiful eyes.  "Perhaps you know Dale, already, but, she's received her visitation and her father has requested she be 'indoctrinated', as it were."  He nodded and with a stroke of his chin took a moment to consider Nadya's opening comment.  "Yes, actually, I had forgotten all about that.  You're timing couldn't be better either, Maurice was planning on moving on soon.  You and the others might be able to convince him to stay while providing Dale with about as much of an introductory into her new life as any."

"Be happy," Nadya smirked.  "Our first time was a zombie hoard."

Archie smirked, nodding.  "Nadya, Dale.  Dale, Nadya.  Maurice is currently laired along the cliffs of Fort Pickering Beach.  Mortals can't see it, but he's dwelling in a cave not far from from the park.  You can't miss it.  He's a bit eccentric, and a Titanspawn, but he's-."

"On our side, right, I got it."  Nadya said confidently.

"A side.  Do try to keep the others in check.  Present to him the trophies you acquired from Spear-Finger and he will take care of the rest."

Nadya looked at her Guide skeptically.  "It can't be that easy.  He just makes things for free?"

"Well," Archie shrugged and she knew he wasn't permitted to tell her too much, only guide her.  "We both know that really depends on him.  Nevertheless, Dale please listen to them.  They've been through a great deal bit more than you," he looked to Nadya and gave her a very serious look.  "And I don't think I need to point out that the other gods are starting take notice of whatever Marius is planning.  You'll need all the help you can get."

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Dale felt... agitated. A lot of new faces. She wasn't quite used to Salem yet, only having visited her uncle a couple times before. She glanced at the dark-haired girl who approached the table, from heels to head, her gaze briefly pausing on Nadya's eyes, then a charming smile drew on her features as she greeted her. Her light gray halterneck didn't quite mask her cleavage, almost flirting with the school's dress code, but the black jacket - thick leather - she was wearing made up for it. From under the table one could guess the black motorcycle boots - and its thick treads with two inches heels - partly covered by kevlar jeans.

"Hey, Nadya." The smile didn't quite reach her eyes, but one could feel it was genuine. It grew wider with mischief as she asked them both : "So... you talked about a... band ? I assume it's not about music, or else you completely lost me... You guys hunting... los anormal ?" Her features tensed at the last words.

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"We don't have to."  Grim said as he came into view, a couple of books under one lean, scar-covered arm.  The statement did contain a smidgeon of humour, but the dry tone with which the statement was made was far older than was warranted, coming as it did from a raw-boned young man who was no older than the two girls present.  Mismatched green and grey eyes peered at those present as his thin lips twitched in an expression of dark amusement, the scar bisecting his grey eye lending the expression a sardonic air.  "The titanspawn are more than happy to come hunting for us.  Generally, however, it's better to seek them out first."

Grim still walked with a limp, though the constant physical therapy and conditioning he was undergoing at the not-so-gentle hands of Coach Fingers was paying off.  Nadya noted that, though still painfully thin-seeming, the scion of Odin had actually put on height and mass since their first meeting the day after Homecoming, a thing difficult to perceive given that the dour teenager habitually wore that oversized blue duster.  Right now, however, said duster was draped over the back of a nearby chair and even the baggy grey t-shirt wasn't able to completely shroud the lines of his shoulders.  Of course, being made to stand up straight and stop slouching by a bellowing Scion of Ares would likely do that too.

"Ahh, Grimsley.  I was wondering when you would emerge from the stacks."  Archimedes tried to sound reproving, but couldn't quite keep the smile from his voice.  Himself a lover of knowledge for its own sake, the hungry mind of Salem High's second-newest god-child was a pleasant break from the kicking and screaming Nadya (for example) would emit when told to open a book.  Admittedly, Odin's son pursued knowledge with the grim (no pun intended) single-minded determination of a hunter tracking a mysterious beast's spoor, particularly knowledge of the occult and arcane.  Archie reflected that Evelyn was a good teacher for him, both for her facility with mysticism and for the cautionary tales she could provide from her own experiences.  He took in the titles under Grim's arm and raised a brow.  "Did Evelyn suggest those?"

"Yeah."  Grim held them up as though to elicit permission.  "Is that okay?"  he added as a courteous afterthought.  Archie pursed his lips, narrowing his eyes, then nodded slowly.

"Usual rules apply, of course."  He stated, and Grim nodded.  The books were not to be left unattended where others could find them.  They were to be returned as they had been borrowed.  In many cases, Archie would not even allow students to leave the library with these tomes, but Grim had demonstrated respectful care for Archie's collection in the past, and so would be extended trust until such time as he abused it.  "And this is..."

"Dale.  Yes."  Grim fixed the new girl with a sharp, penetrating stare from under his careless mop of black hair.  "And we're going to meet with Maurice.  I'm looking forward to it."  A ghost of a smile touched the pale lips, which also carried a razor-thin scar that slanted across the corner of the boy's mouth.  "Nice to meet you, Dale."

"And that's the warm Grimsley welcome."  Nadya rolled her eyes, smirking.

"I was nice."  Grim protested mildly as he took a seat, his eyes gleaming with humor as they settled into their game of bickering.  "I even said that it was nice to meet her.  What, should I hire a marching band?"

"Dane would."  Nadya grinned, knowing that referring to the taller, buffer, handsomer and more personable Aesir would nettle Grim a little, even if he didn't show it.  She perched her posterior on the edge of the table, winking at Dale to let her know this was business as usual and making a show of 'casually' pulling one of the books towards her to peek at.

"Dane would hire a gorilla-gram."  Grim returned with a sly smile that gave him a foxish air as he, equally 'casually', took the book back and slid it and it's fellow into his satchel.  "Whereas Rachel will doubtless huff and throw a tantrum that she wasn't consulted."

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Austin was relatively happy.   Things had been going well enough, despite the escape of the witches, and them dancing to Marius' tune.   When he thought Okay, so maybe not so good, but none of us are dead, Nadya's back to herself and we've got something to show for our efforts.  That counts as a win in my book.

He was the third of the Band to show up at Archie's, coming in slightly after Grim, and caught the tail-end of his and Nadya's back and forth.  "Dane would probably put on the gorrilla suit."   He looked to the others, and nodded Rachel's not that bad."  When he got a look from the other two, Austin shrugged.  "Okay, so she can be abit intense, and yeah, that's not always a good thing.  She comes around eventually.   i say the more the merrier, because Each of us brings something unique to the table."   Austin was  surprised by yet another new scion, but smiled amiably to Dale.   "It's nice to meet you.  I'm Austin Lange."

 

 

 

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"In fairness, she's making progress." Fisher insisted, popping out after Austin. "The thing you need to understand about Rachel," Fisher calmly went on, putting away a metal water bottle he'd finished drinking from back into his backpack's side pocket, "is that while she can be intense, once she's warmed up to you, there's no more dedicated person you'll find in your corner." He was used to smoothing things over until the acclimation period finished, even if Grim wasn't acknowledging that he'd made it through her adjustment period.

"I'm Fisher Capra. Welcome Dale, and we'll help you through the madness." Dale could pick up there was something endearing and comforting about his presence, even Grim seeming to relax slightly. This was an honest to goodness nice guy.

"To answer your questions, this isn't the X-Files. It's Percy Jackson, except all the major pantheons of legend are around, and there's no Camp Half-Blood. There is however a war and monsters to slay. And today, we learn how to turn our trophies into lovely magic items, since Nadya finally decided to stop hoarding the literally shattered heart of Spearfinger, the twisted Cherokee spirit we brought down."

"I wasn't hoarding! I was conducting independent study!" Nadya protested, hands up, but clearly Fisher, rolling his eyes, wasn't fooled. "Nadya, you act like hearing the word 'study' gives you a rash. Actually, I'm certain the only reason you'd study is if it would magically make Mercedes Rhodes burst into hives." Unsurprisingly, Nadya started envisioning that glorious image.

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The delight on Nadya's face wasn't just for picturing a hive-ridden particular daughter of Aphrodite. If Fisher - and most others - thought study was anathema - another word-a-day word - to her, that was more than fine with her. And was the intent. While admittedly, her studying at school was... inconsistent at best, you couldn't pull off a good con or heist without at least some planning, even if you had to expect to adapt when things inevitably went wrong.

“Yeah, well, you know, that’s just, like, your opinion, man.” Nadya glanced back over her shoulder at the ancient arithmetician. "Just one more teensy thing, Archie, Maurice, yeah, Titanspawn, got it, but what exactly is he?"

The svelte and wiry young woman perked up on her perch on the edge of the table, giving the impression of clapping excitedly without actually moving her hands. "Is he dwarf? Like an actual dwarf, not a little person? He's a dwarf, isn't he? We should at least bring him a case of beer or something."

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"Need I remind you," Archibald cut in with a sharp glare towards Nadya.  "That while you are children of the gods, you are still children.  At least by the measure of mortal society.  I would hate to consider any of you using your natural wit and charms to procure alcohol while still under age.  While I certainly can not stop you, I'd advise against it.  Consider for a moment that you have an entire city from which to hide your supernal nature from.  Do exercise a bit of discretion."

"Maurice is not a dwarf."  He pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose as he addressed the crowd.  "Unfortunately dwarves are union, and while their work is certainly without peer, getting them to do anything without a arranged contract is nearly impossible.  Given the time these items were sat upon, I could not, unfortunately, book the dwarves' assistance.  I was, however, able to acquire, um...,"  He seemed to force a smile of reassurance onto his face.  "Maurice.  He's um... good.  He's good."  The God of Arithmetic didn't seem to convinced with his appraisal.  "Really, though, you should just go meet him.  I'm your watcher after all, I'm not supposed to be spilling secrets, just guiding you."

"Laaaaame,"  Nadya side-eyed the divine librarian with a suspicious squint.

"Alright, fine," Archibald smirked.  "I just want you to see for yourselves.  You're not the only ones who get to be a pain in the backside."

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The dwarves are unionized? Fisher decided to see if he could incorporate that into the tabletop game he was running. Meanwhile, he supposed he couldn't begrudge Mr. Syracuse for his secrecy. Even if Rachel felt like the librarian God and the other faculty were being ass pains by rotating extra people through their Band, even if as a show of faith in their good character, since you obviously couldn't use the Donner Party as role models.

"Alright." Fisher smiled back. "Where do we go to meet him then?"

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"Along the cliffs of Fort Pickering Beach."  Nadya and Grim said almost in unison, with just enough discordance that it made them both stop and glower at each other for a moment.  Then Nadya opened her mouth to continue - and Grim did likewise half an eyeblink behind her, the verbal equivalent of treading on someone's heels.

"-a cave not far from the park-"

"...park-"

"Do you mind?!"  the pretty daughter of Bast glared at Odin's son, who smiled disingenuously.

"Not at all."  he indicated for her to go ahead.  She gave him a narrow-eyed look, then snorted in apparent satisfaction and turned back to Fisher, opening her mouth-

"Mortals have trouble seeing Maurice's lair, but we can't miss it."  Grimsley finished the info-dump a second before Nadya could speak, causing her to stamp one of the absurdly-chunky-soled boots that currently accounted for four inches of her apparent height.  He smiled, very faintly, as he stood and slid his dark blue coat on, then shouldered his satchel.

"Ugh!"  Nadya's protest was expressive, as was the annoyed toss of her hair and irritated pout.  "You suck so bad, Glumsley."

"Sorry.  I thought you were done."  he peered at her in mock-surprise from under his mop of tousled dark hair.  "Were you not done?  I could have sworn you were done."  He glanced around at the others, then back at Nadya.  The ghost of a sly smile still hung around his lips and glinted in the verdant green of his right eye.  "Sorry.  Go ahead.  I'll stay quiet."  Nadya stared at him, then folded her arms and turned her head away with an audible 'hmmph'.  Still with admirable lack of smiling or grinning at his teasing of his friend, Grim looked at the others.  "Guess there's nothing more to say.  Shall we get going to Fort Pickering Beach, then?"

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Austin gave a bemused chuckle at the two of them, and sighed.   "Sure.   Anyone who wants to ride along with me is welcome to."  His jeep had plenty of room, and while he wasn't the only one with a vehicle, he knew he had more comfortable room than others.   

Austin didn't doubt Archie's assessment of Maurice, but at the same time, the way he spoke of him, well that led him to wonder.   Not so much Maurice's competency, but his personality.   He was no stranger to eccentrics, but at the same time, Archie didn't really react quite like that when he spoke of the others.   "This oughta be good."

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It wasn't a long drive, honestly, most places in Salem could be gotten to on a bike or on foot, but driving certainly saved a lot of time.  The small beach was located not far from a sea food shack that all of them knew had amazing take-out shrimp.  They crossed the barrier that separated the take-out place's parking lot and did the shimmy down the steep slope of rocks and gravel that led to the beach where the water lapped the shore slowly as the cool beach sands soaked it up like a sponge.

It the distance they could hear it, which was strange because they never heard anything before coming this way, but it sounded like the ringing of a pneumatic press thumping down upon metal and a shaping hammer pounding away.  "Weird," Nadya pointed out.  "Do you guys hear that?  How come we never noticed it before?"

"Because weren't looking before."  Fisher replied calmly.  "That's how this works.  Mortals are ignorant of the goings on of titanspawn and the gods because of the Veil.  Works the same for us, too, I imagine.  We didn't think about looking for Maurice here, so, as long as we reamain blissfully ignorant, the Veil keeps him hidden from us."

Austin slid down the rocks and scooped up a few and skipped them across the ocean's surface.  The sight of it filled him with swelling pride and an inner strength.  "That's an unsettling thought," he added while a rock skipped far more times than it should have, as if the water was playing along with him.  "How many other lairs could be hidden from us, from far more dangerous things than this..." unsure what to refer to Maurice as, Austin shrugged.  "Guy?"

"Asking things like that is a great way to bring unwanted trouble."  Grim slid down, taking care with his injured leg and hoisting himself up with it once he arrived on the sands.  "Let us not dwell on it, lest we inspire some Muse of tragedy to provide an answer we weren't really looking for."

Everyone silently nodded in agreement with Grim as Nadya's fists rested on her hips.  "Slick little guy, would you look at that?"  She pointed down the way, towards the slop of rocks they all just slid down and sure enough, about fifty yards down the way the all saw the Veil lift with a wavering shimmer in the air, like a dream or a mirage fading from view... in a few moments, all that remained was a large a concrete drain pipe only half exposed in a large arch nearly nine feet in height, common for when the numerous ponds and surrounding wooded areas flooded and the ground water was routed to the ocean where it could safely drain.  This drain didn't seem like it would be draining anytime soon, as it was blocked by a massive brick wall that had build about ten feet within the pipe with a massive set of double doors that was beautifully ornamented with stained, smoked glass and bronze filigree work set within the glass.  It honestly looked like the sort of door one could buy at Home Depot for several thousand dollars... if Home Depot sold doors for people who were nearly ten feet tall.  About six feet up on the side of the doors was a doorbell that seemed out of place.  It was a big, plastic, Mike Wazowski, and it looked like activated it by pressing his eye ball.

"Definitely not a dwarf..." Fisher sighed.

The constant sounds of hammering and smashing came from beyond the doors.  Like scared kids at the haunted house on Halloween they all found themselves standing a bit closer together as they looked up at the doors, seeking safety among each other should the portal burst open and their worst fears be realized.  Finally Nadya shook everyone off her and gave them all a look as if they should all be ashamed.

"Guys!  Relax!"  She threw up her amrs in protest of their unspoken worries.  "Maurice is on our side, right?  Archie would not send us to our doom.  We really need to get a grip.  Chill."  She carelessly pressed the eye of Mike Wazowski in typical Nadya fashion.  Over the hammering and tinging of metal they heard, in full stereo and possibly HD surround sound, 'Mike Wazowski!', shouted by Boo.

The tinging and hammering stopped.

Heavy footsteps could be heard thundering towards the door and despite Nadya's confidence, everyone seemed ready for a battle.  The door swung open and massive, chocolate colored man stood in the threshold.  He was easily eight and half feet with thick arms and fore arms and adorned in a simple tank top displaying the continent of Africa in red, black and green, along with cargo shorts with a pair of sandals.  Thick dreadlocks adorned his head, but they were all tied back, probably to protect from the heat of his work.  A braided goat-tee hung several inches down his chin and the one eye set in the center of his was almost as much as an identifying feature as the massive sliff, as long and thick as Nadya's forearm, resting comfortably in the corner of his mouth.  The orb in the center of his head moved to focus on them.

"Ah, wa gwaan.  Di pickney."  The cyclop's voice was a deep baritone that seemed echoed off the tunnels walls.  His eyebrow raised slightly, tilting to one side, signifying he knew they had no idea what he just said.  He sighed.  "I sed 'allo.  You must be di kids, yeh?  I, Maurice.  Archie make di talk of you, said you come by.  No say why."

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